Willem Frankenhuis

Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Utrecht University


Willem Frankenhuis studies how cognition and behavior develop in harsh and unpredictable conditions. His empirical focus is on (1) hidden talents (abilities that are enhanced by adversity), and (2) reasonable responses (behavioral responses to tradeoffs in adverse conditions). In his theoretical work, he uses mathematical modeling to understand the evolution and development of plasticity – the ability to adjust to environmental conditions based on experience.

Willem Frankenhuis obtained his Psychology BSc. (2005), Psychology MSc. (2006), and Philosophy MA. (2006) from the University of Amsterdam. In 2012, he received his Ph.D. in Biological Anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles, before becoming a post-doctoral researcher in the Cognitive Development Center of the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. In December 2012, Willem Frankenhuis became Assistant Professor in the Department of Developmental Psychology of the Behavioural Science Institute at Radboud University in the Netherlands. In January of 2018, he attained the rank of Associate Professor. Since September 2020, he is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, and a Senior Researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Research on Crime, Security and Law in Freiburg, Germany.

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